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Living the Gospel of Peace
by jackie oneal
05/26/07
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Living the Gospel of Peace
Living the Gospel of Peace

By Jackie OíNeal, S.T.M.

Jesus instructed his disciples to go into the world, taking nothing except the clothing on their backs and also commanding them to preach the Gospel to the suffering people who hungered to hear and learn about the Kingdom of God. Preaching the Gospel can also mean living its truths, and you donít need accoutrements, props, or any material objects of any kind to share the Good News. St. Francis explored the idea of traveling light when he wrote: ďPreach the Gospel everywhere and when necessary use words.Ē Iíve heard it said that St. Francisís heart resonated with love of simplicity and nature, so his spontaneous expression does not surprise me. Although he was a poet and troubadour, preaching the Gospel became one area where words were practically useless to him- since he chose to become an embodiment of the Gospel through his actions.

I believe the Lord wanted His disciples (and that includes you and I) to travel light in this world and be focused on our mission of sharing the truths of God without distractions. Traveling light underscores the notion that we are pilgrims, and only on this earth to do Godís willónot to cultivate attachments to material things, although so many of us love them so. Thomas a Kempis in The Imitation of Christ wrote: ďHow easily humans tend downward to outward things; but unless they sharply recover themselves, they are content to dwell on material interests and pleasures.Ē

Let me tell you the story of the courageous Vietnamese Christians under persecution who prepare clandestinely to preach the Gospel, and of the tireless pastors who persevere under great threats of arrest, only to feel emboldened by their incarcerations. These Christians have very little by way of material things, but through their dedication find creative ways to hold prayer services and offer the sacraments.

I was moved to see a photo of our Vietnamese brethren conducting a Baptism service, and making use of a rusted barrel filled with water. Let us pray for our persecuted brethren overseas who share their resources, the very little they have, to bring others to the knowledge of Christ. Iím clear the words of our Lord resound in their minds as they diligently do His work: Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely you have received, freely give. Amen+

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Jackie O'Neal
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